Yesterday was the perfect afternoon for a 10k race in Geneva!
As soon as Meghann and Derek planned their to Geneva, I started searching for local road races. How much fun would it be to run a race with Meghann when she was in town and check off “run European race” her bucket list!
There was only one option, a local Fall 10k race in a nearby town. This was the 14th Foulees Automnales de Meyrin race which includes multiple distances – 10km, 5km, 3km for school children, 1.5km for kids and a 14 km nordic walking course.
We didn’t know much about the course except that it was primarily on paved paths and had a later than normal start – 2:36pm! We had a late breakfast of steel cut oats, cranberry sauce, and almond butter! It was the perfect pre-race brunch, enjoyed around 11:30!
We arrived at the bib pick-up area at 2pm, the last possible moment to pick up bibs. All of the races I’ve run in Switzerland thus far start near a school or other area where runners can use restrooms, change clothes, relax and stretch inside versus waiting outside near the corrals. It was quite nice since yesterday was colder than forecasted. It felt like 37 at the start and was a damp afternoon. Perfect running weather for us, but quite cold for Derek, our great spectator!
At 2:30 we joined the 550 other runners, ready for a great race. We each had our own plan and therefore weren’t going to run together. Bo was focused on finishing as yesterday was his first race more than a year and his first race since his ACL surgery on August 12th. Meghann was fighting a cold, so focused on just enjoying the sights. Once upon a time I thought I’d spend November using Run Less, Run Faster to train for train for a 10k PR. We all know that I’ve spent November doing lots of cross training but very little running. Therefore, I told the gang that my goal was to run as strong as possible and see what was possible.
At 2:36 on the dot we crossed the starting line! The first half mile was really crowded due to the narrow path. I did my best to move to the right and push forward while being conscious not to waste too much energy on weaving.
I’ve never spent time in this town so I had no clue where the course would lead. We spent the first half navigating through a few neighborhood streets, a small park and then on the sidewalk along a highway which included a tunnel and finally into a large park which took us past CERN and through large fields. From the beginning, the course was undulating hills. Even though I was running without a Garmin, I could tell that I was pushing my pace. I know that I’m not the strongest runner when the running becomes tough. After the first kilometer I chose a “rabbit” or person in front of me who I wanted to do my best to keep up with or pass. She was wearing this year’s New York City Marathon shirt and looked happy and strong. Perfect! For the next 9 kilometers I focused on enjoying Taylor Swift and pushing through each hill with my arms and putting any pain out of my mind. As Theodora has told me many times, PR attempt should feel hard, because they are! Every time I approached a hill, I also repeated “what goes up must come down” to myself.
While it felt like the longest 10k I’ve run in ages, I finally crossed the finish line, giving the last few meters every bit of energy I had left! I ran a strong race, pushing until the very end. A new 10k PR was mine!
I ran the race in 55:42 or an 8:59 pace! Over a 2 minute improvement since setting my last 10k PR in Central Park in July 2013!
I wasn’t the only one who had a great race yesterday! Meghann loved the change of scenery and versus Florida races and Bo finished feeling strong, ready to start training for a Spring race! This 10k race was the exact motivation I need for this month’s 5k in Atlanta and the next few races in the New Year. I’m ready to start incorporating speed training into my regular workouts and see what’s possible!
What’s your preference – pancake flat or rolling hills?